Childhood Memories Friday: Of Genetics and Carol Burnett

One of the fun things about being a parent is being able to relive and interpret your own childhood through your kids. My girls are in a gifted program at school (although I don’t discuss that much and certainly take the “gifted” label with a grain of salt; I see it as a way to help them fully reach their potential and also take advantage of some of the district’s best teachers and most motivated students). As part of this, I’ve heard several speakers talking about characteristics of gifted kids, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten about my kids and began thinking, Wow – that is/was me! Parenting: it’s a voyage in self-discovery.

I think it’s fun to see traits pop up in my kids and think, okay, that’s like me – okay, where did that one come from? etc. As a child, I was of a rather serious/analytical bent. I remember attending a circus and watching the people around me laughing and laughing at the clowns. I just didn’t get it: what was so funny about grown men in odd, colorful costumes, bad makeup and a fake wig? I didn’t understand the appeal at all.

So, it’s mystifying and yet somehow gratifying that at least some of my kids have a real enjoyment of so much of life. They laugh and laugh at a lot of things the way I most likely didn’t.

However, one thing that did bring me to tears (the laughing kind) as a child was The Carol Burnett Show. I see that it aired from 1967 – 1978, so it fell right in my childhood years. My mom and sisters and I would watch it and roar with laughter.

The Carol Burnett ShowI loved the whole show, from the beginning, where Carol came out to take audience questions, through the hilarious skits. Favorites were sketches with Mr. Tudball and Mrs. Wiggins,

… and of course the ‘family’ of Eunice, Thelma, Ed, etc. (later those family characters inspired their own show, Mama’s Family, which we enjoyed as well). One of the funniest parts was when the actors would crack each other up and try to hide their amusement. This made us laugh even harder!

The supporting cast of Vicki Lawrence, Harvey Korman and Tim Conway were all household names to us, and watching the show is a great childhood memory. There were less choices on TV in those days, but in some ways it seems that the choices we did have were better than what’s available now.

Carol always ended her show with this song:

I’m so glad we had this time together
Just to have a laugh or sing a song
Seems we just got started and before you know it
Comes the time we have to say, ‘So long.’

Then she’d tug on her ear, a “secret” signal to her grandma (my mom told me that, and I loved being in on the secret).

5 thoughts on “Childhood Memories Friday: Of Genetics and Carol Burnett

  1. My baby is about to turn 2, I could find a lot of his charactor resembles to myself. This must be somethig they called passing over through the womb. I enjoy reading the post… very helpful information.

  2. The Carol Burnett show was one of the best shows ever! I watched it as a young (well, sort of young) mother with 2 kids, and I thought it was absolutely the funniest! Too bad that we don’t have good relaxing “feel good” shows like that around anymore. People of all ages definitely need more laughs! As for me, I never have liked REALITY shows of any kind, because we get plenty of reality in everyday life. Enough, already!

    Loved your take on clowns, too. Somehow the “humor” never did catch on for me either. Not as a child, not as a grown-up, not ever! The costumes, sad faces, and floppy shoes just didn’t cut it for me. Of course, you are talking to a tomboy, outdoor type, who really wasn’t into too much make-believe or silly stuff when I was a kid or even yet.

  3. OMG! I loved watching the Carol Burnett Show!! I used to laugh so hard I cried. I remember sometimes she would do take offs on commercials, those were so hilarious. I also liked when Tim Conway did skits with Harvey Korman and Harvey could not help laughing at Tim. It makes me smile just thinking about it.

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